PigI was reading The Epistle of Barnabas[1] (a letter by one of the early Church Fathers) this week and came across this curious argument. According to Barnabas, Israel misunderstood the food laws given at Mt. Sinai. Moses wasn’t referring to actual food. He was speaking “spiritually.” God’s intention wasn’t to forbid people from eating pork. “Bacon tastes good! Pork chops taste good!” Rather, with this law, Moses meant believers should not associate with piggish people—those who only acknowledge the Lord when they are in need. Such folk are like swine that squeal until they are fed, students who oink for extra credit the week of finals (okay, that last bit is my addition). Barnabas goes on to interpret all the food laws in this manner.

Although I think Moses did actually endorse a literal prohibition from pork, I do appreciate Barnabas’ admonition for us not to be “little piggies” who only talk to God when we are in need. Prayer should be an ongoing conversation more than a 911 call. In short, even if you eat bacon: do not pray like a pig.

 


 

[1] The Epistle of Barnabas is an early Christian document written in the Second Century. Scholars debate whether the author was a Jewish-Christian or a Gentile one. It reminds me a lot of Hebrews. You can read the letter here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-lightfoot.html

 

 

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Joey Dodson
Dr. Dodson teaches for Eternity Bible College and also serves as an associate professor of Biblical Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He received his Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and was a guest researcher at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Joey is the author of A Little Book for New Bible Scholars with E. Randolph Richards; and The 'Powers' of Personification. Joey has also written a number of articles for academic journals as well as essays in various volumes. Moreover, he is the editor of Paul and the Second Century with Michael F. Bird; and Paul and Seneca in Dialogue with David E. Briones. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @jrrdodson.